International Appeal of Keeneland November

International Appeal of Keeneland November

As the largest and most diverse auction of its kind in the world, the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale attracts a broad base of breeders seeking top-quality breeding stock, end-users and pinhook speculators in search of well-bred and conformed weanlings bound for greatness and proven racehorses.

Keeneland invests resources and personnel in recruiting horses and buyers that burnish the November Sale’s reputation as the ultimate marketplace. In their words, Keeneland’s team of international representatives—sales ambassadors—perceive the 2022 auction and its appeal to an international buyer base.

The View from Europe

Ed Prosser, a racing journalist and Thoroughbred owner and breeder and Keeneland’s European representative, says buyers from the continent are eagerly awaiting Keeneland in the Fall when the iconic track hosts the Breeders’ Cup World Championships with the November Sale to follow.

Ed Prose

I expect a strong representation of European breeders, as well as pinhookers shopping for weanlings, particularly large groups from Saudi Arabia and Turkey as well as representatives from countries across the world.
Ed Prosser

How are you preparing for and working with clients on their Keeneland November preparations?

Among the clients I assist are those in the European, Middle Eastern and Turkish regions and between them they are looking to participate at every price point from start to finish. I’m currently helping with travel and accommodation plans while also working on quarantine, boarding and shipping arrangements for potential purchases to ensure the buying process at Keeneland is as seamless as possible.

What are your clients looking forward to about Keeneland in November?

The last Keeneland Breeders’ Cup with a full crowd in 2015 prompted many high-profile European visitors to return to Kentucky and the brilliant racing was followed by a blockbuster November Sale. There was a top price of $6 million and among the European-focused buyers of the 22 seven-figure lots were Ballylinch Stud, Moyglare Stud, Nawara Stud, Coolmore and Shadwell. We expect more of the same this year and there looks to be every bit as much interest.

Tell us about the representation we can expect to see at Keeneland from your territory this November.

There was a huge international crowd at Royal Ascot, and talking to many people there, it was apparent many are ready to travel again after COVID. Topping most lists is a return to Kentucky. I expect a strong representation of European breeders, as well as pinhookers shopping for weanlings and large groups from Saudi Arabia and Turkey as well as representatives from countries across the world.

What will your clients be looking for at the November Sale?

Many of the major breeders in Europe now have broodmare bands very in-bred to the domestic stallions, so there’s a real feeling that it’s time to invest in American bloodlines as outcrosses. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s racing industry is growing massively and, with half the program restricted to local-breds, there’s a hunger for U.S.-bred mares whose progeny suit their racing style and surface best. There is also a very strong market for horses of racing age from the U.S. for Turkey. There were over 20 different Turkish buyers at the 2021 November Sale and they have a breeding industry on an upward trajectory as some recent stallion purchases from the U.S. demonstrate.

What are you personally looking forward to about Keeneland this Fall?

For the sales of 2020 and 2021, only those with special waivers could travel from Europe to the U.S. so it was frustrating for Keeneland and our clients that so few were able to attend the sales in person. But--touching wood--trans-Atlantic travel has returned to normal and I’m most looking forward to offering our famous Lexington welcome to both some familiar faces and first-time visitors.

Provide a quick overview of how you recruit and work with buyers from your region to Keeneland sales.

We have a quite a small circuit of racing and sales in Europe so I catch up with both existing and new clients through the year and work out what would benefit them most from a visit to Keeneland. I also travel outside Europe through the year, particularly to the Gulf region, to let people know what we have to offer and help get them involved at Keeneland.

Quality a Major Draw Card for Australians

Australian Thoroughbred breeders and owners are looking forward to the Breeders’ Cup-November Sale combo, according to Barry Bowditch, the Managing Director of Magic Millions and Keeneland’s Australasian representative.

Keeneland has been a happy hunting ground for Australian buyers for many years.
Barry Bowditch

How are you preparing for and working with clients on their Keeneland November preparations?

I have reached out to our Australian clients to assist with their accommodation bookings and travel. There will be a strong contingent of us and we’re looking forward to being in America for the sale and Breeders’ Cup.

What are your clients are looking forward to about Keeneland in November.

Not only does the sale offer one of the deepest and diverse catalogs, the quality of stock on offer is a major draw card for Australian clients. We know how well the American mare does in Australia. Throw in the fun of Lexington coupled with the Breeders’ Cup and it certainly is shaping up to be a great couple of weeks!

Tell us about the representation we can expect to see at Keeneland from your territory this November.

We have a strong contingent of buyers ready to head over which includes some of the biggest names in the Australian bloodstock industry. This is definitely the largest and strongest group of buyers in many years that will head to Keeneland.

What will your clients be looking for at the November Sale?

Generally speaking, mares that are suited to Australian racing--strong, fast, early types that are able to race on or that look suited to Australian sire lines. Keeneland has been a happy hunting ground for Australian buyers for many years.

What are you personally looking forward to about Keeneland this Fall?

It will be great to be back at Keeneland having not been able to get over due to COVID. It’s been way too long. It’s a fabulous complex and I love Lexington and having the Breeders’ Cup there before the sale this year adds to the excitement.

Provide a quick overview of how you recruit and work with buyers from your region to Keeneland sales.

There are buyers who are certainly always willing and keen to get over there and some others may need a hand. Those that require more direction I speak with more often and assist them in any way I can, whether it’s knowledge of the area and sale or assisting them in looking through the catalog for suitable stock for their needs. It’s a process I really enjoy and I’m always looking for more Australians to seize the American opportunity and expand and upgrade their portfolio. 

Japanese Will Be Buying Broodmares

Japanese breeders and their representatives always play a major role in the November Sale buying bench, and this year will be no exception, according to Kate Hunter. Hunter, President of Marugai Racing, a marketing and consultant firm for anyone looking to enter the Japanese racing industry, is Keeneland’s representative in Japan.

Kate Hunter

How are you preparing for and working with clients on their Keeneland November preparations?

I meet with clients at the races, domestic sales, or visit their farms and ask about their sale participation and how I can help. Catalog requests, hotel bookings, and registration are all things that can be difficult for non-English speakers, so helping bridge that gap is important for customer satisfaction. Aside from generating a mailing list for the catalogs and shipping those out when it comes time, I also work with all traveling clients to prepare the needed Japanese paperwork for PCR results so they can effortlessly return to their home country. It is a service I started in 2020 and has helped keep the Japanese feeling very well cared for when they travel to Keeneland, because they know we will get them home again too.

Tell us about the representation we can expect to see at Keeneland from your territory this November.

Each year dozens of the most prominent Japanese breeders converge on Lexington to snap up the best broodmares in the sale. Those that are famous around the world but also those unsung heroes who have great success domestically but might not have their progeny taken on the road. Regardless of the size of the breeding farm in Japan, going to Keeneland November is an essential part of building a successful breeding operation in Japan.

Provide a quick overview of how you recruit and work with buyers from your region to Keeneland sales.

One of the best things about working for an established brand like Keeneland is that the offerings are consistently high quality, it's to promote. There are mares for every budget and Japanese racing has long relied on the import of these Keeneland bought mares to improve the breed over the years. With Japan being a small country, traveling abroad to buy mares is vital but the language barrier may be a challenge. My goal is to alleviate that concern at Keeneland by providing Japanese language support for clients to make them feel cared for & comfortable through all steps of the process. We’ve incorporated Japanese guidebooks to the online buyer’s system and Keeneland Portal and personally meet with owners, breeders, & trainers to see how they are and what more I can do to make their Keeneland experience better. With added Japanese language support, it lowers the barrier to entry for a new demographic of clients traveling and conducting business in a foreign market. 

What will your clients be looking for at the November Sale?

The greatest demand will be for broodmares with good outcross pedigrees for Japanese stallions, mostly maiden mares. Mares in foal to sires that are marketable in Japan will also be on their lists. Keeneland sales have produced a lot of stop stock in Japan, including this year’s Japanese Derby winner. Breeders always manage to get a quick return on their investments once these mares start bearing fruit in Japan.

What are you personally looking forward to about Keeneland this Fall?

Due to ongoing COVID protocols in Japan, being able to see my clients on a regular basis has been quite limited. So it will be nice to be able to sit down with them in many of Lexington’s fabulous eateries and casually socialize with them and catch up on how things have been going for them over the past year if I had not had a chance to see them much in person this year already.

What are your clients are looking forward to about Keeneland in November.

While buying broodmares is always on the top end of their to do list when coming to Keeneland November, going out to eat and visiting stallions are right up there too. I book many appointments to visit stud farms and many reservations at all the best steak houses in the city.